The Kennet Valley Guild – Weavers, Spinners and Dyers was formed over 40 years ago and two members, Lynne & Jennifer kindly brought along a wonderful selection of wools, equipment and finished projects to share with our group.
Jennifer talked about the different types of wools that are spun and mentioned – sheep’s wool, alpaca, white nylon tops, silk, cashmere, cashmere silk, mock cashmere and soya bean tops. I was particularly interested to see a camel mix amongst their display. In the past Lynne and Jennifer would spin wool themselves from fleeces but nowadays they buy wool tops often from a fibre shop in Yorkshire.
Jennifer showed us how to card the wool, the different spindles for hand spinning and two spinning wheels one of which she uses when she travels to shows and exhibitions.
It was interesting to hear how Jennifer finds a knitting pattern and then has the skill, knowledge and equipment to make her own wool for the project. She talked about the ratio of the wool or in other words the number of twists per inch which was something I knew nothing about. There was a great selection of teddy bears, ponchos and hangings for us to look at.
Lynne then went on to talk about weaving. She explained the terms, warp and weft and asked what is weaving? Using pieces of paper she demonstrated a few of the numerous possibilities that could be created. Lynne then went on to show us a variety of looms, some quite basic, some for making flat braids and circular Japanese kumihimo for round braids. She talked about how weaving developed with lifting the warp to enable people to weave more quickly and how multiple shaft looms are popular to enable more intricate designs. Lynne showed us a 8 shaft loom which had enabled her to create double and treble weaves.
Each time Lynne spins a different wool she makes a sample coat for a sheep and she brought along her wonderful collection for everyone to see. She also brought two hangings which she had made completely, by weaving the fabric used and embroidering the designs.
Thank you Lynne & Jennifer for sharing your passion with us and for giving us the opportunity of hearing about this traditional craft.
The Kennet Valley Guild – Weavers, Spinners and Dyers meet on the first Saturday of each month at Greenham, Newbury and you can find more details on their website.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/kennetvalleyguild
Report & photos by Ros